Put the stars in your eyes

Hunt down the high-fly­ers or treat your­self like a movie star in some of Hol­ly­wood’s leg­endary haunts and hide­outs, writes Sarah Ni­chol­son

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - A-LIST LOS ANGELES -

IF TIN­SEL Town has a heart it must be this ho­tel at the in­ter­sec­tion of Hol­ly­wood Blvd and High­land Ave.

From one of the win­dows in my suite at Loews Hol­ly­wood Ho­tel I can see the Grif­fith Ob­ser­va­tory, which fea­tured in the James Dean clas­sic Rebel With­out a Cause, the cir­cu­lar Capi­tol Records build­ing, the LA Law tower in down­town Los An­ge­les, and the apart­ments where Ju­lia Roberts and Richard Gere filmed the fi­nal scenes of Pretty Woman.

From the win­dow on the other side of the room I spot the Roo­sevelt Ho­tel, which was home to the first Academy Awards in 1929, Hol­ly­wood High where Sarah Jes­sica Parker and Mickey Rooney went to school, and the El Cap­i­tan The­atre where Dis­ney still holds movie pre­mieres.

TCL Chi­nese The­atre (for­merly Grau­man’s) and the foot­path where some icons of film left their mark in the con­crete is next door, the Walk of Fame stars stretch east and west along Hol­ly­wood Blvd from the ho­tel’s side en­trance, and the Dolby The­atre – the venue that’s been home to the Os­cars since 2002 – is un­der the same roof.

The Dolby The­atre and Loews Hol­ly­wood are part of the Hol­ly­wood & High­land Cen­tre, a trendy shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex, and the mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try’s elite fill ev­ery guest room in this up­scale ho­tel on Os­cars night so they don’t have far to walk home af­ter cel­e­brat­ing at the Gov­er­nors Ball next door.

‘‘ Hol­ly­wood im­pacts ev­ery­thing we do at this ho­tel,’’ Dee Doak, di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing at Loews Hol­ly­wood, says.

‘‘ We’re not just a tourist ho­tel, where vis­i­tors to LA can stay in com­fort and lit­er­ally see the sights of Hol­ly­wood from their bed, but we are a busi­ness ho­tel and on any given day there will be rooms oc­cu­pied by film crews work­ing on movies and ac­tors in town for meet­ings.

‘‘ Hol­ly­wood as a neigh­bour­hood is thriv­ing at the moment, I have lived in LA my whole life and I’ve never seen it look­ing this good, and the blocks around the ho­tel have be­come a dy­namic place be­cause there’s so much go­ing on and lots of new restau­rants and the­atres open­ing means lots of ac­tiv­ity at night.’’

There’s more to Hol­ly­wood than the ob­vi­ous at­trac­tions fea­tured in any Los An­ge­les guide­book and the Loews Hol­ly­wood Ho­tel concierge has a few tips to get vis­i­tors off the Tin­sel Town tourist trail and, hopefully, into the path of some celebri­ties.

Robert­son Blvd

Mel­rose Ave is for quirky clothes and Rodeo Drive is the spot to browse lux­ury brands, but Robert­son Blvd is the place the A-list crowd con­gre­gates to see what LA’s cut­ting-edge de­sign­ers are do­ing and dine at a restau­rant called The Ivy.

There’s a good chance the Loews Hol­ly­wood Ho­tel concierge will get guests a reser­va­tion at The Ivy, but if you can’t swing a seat then linger in any one of the other cafes that line this trendy strip and spend a cou­ple of hours peo­ple watch­ing and celebrity spot­ting in the sun­shine.

It’s AWrap

It’s A Wrap sells wardrobe and props from movie and TV sets and, while you might not spot any fa­mous faces, a visit to this store will give you the chance to wear their clothes.

Stock is de­liv­ered to the out­lets ev­ery day – there are two stores, one in Robert­son Blvd and the other in Bur­bank – de­pend­ing on the pro­grams in pro­duc­tion, and codes on the price tags let shop­pers know the ori­gin.

Run­yon Canyon Park

When the world’s hottest ac­tors get sick of spend­ing hours in the gym they head to Run­yon Canyon Park – the ur­ban wilder­ness just a stone’s throw from Loews Hol­ly­wood Ho­tel – to get a work­out climb­ing the net­work of trails that wrap the slopes in view of down­town Los An­ge­les.

There are three main hik­ing routes in Run­yon Canyon, with some­thing for ev­ery­one in­clud­ing va­ca­tion­ing Aus­tralians look­ing to stretch their legs af­ter the long hop across the Pa­cific Ocean. The really fa­mous folk tend to stick to the most chal­leng­ing tracks with a pooch or two in tow.

El Cap­i­tan The­atre

You could camp out at a Hol­ly­wood pre­miere to catch a glimpse of the cast as they pose for pic­tures be­fore the cur­tain goes up on a new block­buster or, bet­ter still, get your hands on the tick­ets needed to sit in the au­di­ence of a chat show filmed in a Hol­ly­wood stu­dio and see the stars up close. The El Cap­i­tan The­atre – the venue Jimmy Kim­mel uses to film his late-night show – is across the road from the ho­tel and, with a cou­ple of weeks’ no­tice, the concierge can weave a lit­tle magic and get guests the passes they need to watch the co­me­dian grill fa­mous ac­tors and direc­tors live. The writer was a guest of Loews Hol­ly­wood Ho­tel.

CHIC BY CHIC: (clockwise from main) El Cap­i­tan The­atre where Dis­ney holds pre­mieres; Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger signs an au­to­graph; view from a Loews suite; and Ian Thorpe runs in the Hol­ly­wood hills. Main pic­ture: Sarah Ni­chol­son

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